News

23.03.2022

The Finnish Court Records Search Service update: you can now use full-text search with over three million hand-written pages

The Finnish Court Records Search Service of the National Archives of Finland has been updated. Over 1.5 million new images have been added to the service. The images include automated text recognition, and they have been sourced from renovated judgment books from the 1800s. The service now has over three million images.

The judgment book material consists of records from rural district courts and city district courts. The online service allows you to browse the records and make text searches, because the material has been scanned with automated text recognition using an AI handwriting model developed by the National Archives.

In addition to the new material, the search features of the Court Records Search Service have been improved. The search uses full-text search instead of the previous KWS (key word spotting) method, resulting in more accurate search results. The advanced text recognition technology also allows the use of phrase searches by putting quotation marks (“”) around a set of words.

The service’s new address is tuomiokirjat.kansallisarkisto.fi. The old address also redirects to the new one, but it is a good idea to update your bookmarks. For example, previously made bookmarks of individual search results will not be redirected.

City district court records finally included in the service

Renovated judgment books make up one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of the National Archives of Finland. Most of the material currently available on the Finnish Court Records Search Service is from 1809–1870 and written in Swedish. The new material includes documents such as city district courts’ records of notification and court matters, as well as rural district courts’ records of court matters that were previously missing from the service. 

In the 1800s, judgment books were compiled in two series: notification matters and court matters. The notification matter records involve registrations of titles to properties, guardianship cases and prenuptial agreements. The court matter records, on the other hand, involve civil disputes and criminal matters.

The Finnish Court Records Search Service particularly serves the information needs of genealogical and other scientific research by offering millions of hand-written pages in a format that is easy to search and browse.

The Court Records Search Service will be further supplemented in the future by adding more judgment book material.

Following an EU-funded project

The technical implementation of the service and the processing of the text-recognised material has been jointly carried out by the READ-COOP cooperative and the National Archives of Finland.

READ-COOP is a cooperative established after the EU-funded READ project (2016–2019) to continue the work started with the project. The goal of the READ project was to develop and promote text recognition of hand-written material and the use of digitised historical material. Among other tasks, the cooperative maintains and develops the Transkribus software for the creation of handwriting models.

Further information